Press Club is a place I’ve passed by dozens of times without going in. Though it’s centrally located in San Francisco’s downtown district, the dark glass and mysterious design never really invited me indoors.
Press Club used to be a tasting room. Six or so wineries each had their own bar space downstairs, and patrons could use a “press card” to sample vino from each. That format didn’t work out, and a year ago Press Club evolved into a more ambitious lounge, with a standard wine-by-the-glass list and a highly touted list of more than 30 beers from all over the world. A large menu of small plates is also offered, courtesy of local catering company Taste.
Recently I was invited to check out the new Press Club, and I didn’t leave disappointed. General Manager Kristian Cosentino and Wine Director Mauro Cirilli generously led us through five courses of variously-sized bites, each paired with a wine (and one beer). This summer Cirilli – who’d only been on the job for two weeks when we visited – is revamping the wine list, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to take a deep dive into the current list, which is heavy on the wines offered by the old tasting room partners. However I have every faith that Cirilli will continue to come up with great pairings like the 24 Hour Painted Hills Beef Short Rib with twice-baked potatoes, paired with fruit-forward Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Duo of Wild Caught White Shrimp wrapped with Prosciutto, paired with a meaty Miner Viognier.
The crowd at Press Club is a hipster-heavy collection of after-work get-togethers and gossipy twentysomethings. A DJ starts at 7pm. The space, completely underground, is vast, with three large bars to choose from. The design is clean, modern, and comfortable – with a heavy focus on high barstools and tallboy tables.
Keep an eye on this space as Press Club’s wine list grows up under Cirilli’s leadership.